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Updated on: July 15, 2010  
  CURRENT RESULTS - Easy method for synthesizing carbon nano-tubes developed at MRC  

Carbon nanotubes (CNTs), see ref. (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Carbon_nanotube) below for more information, are allotropes of carbon with a nanostructure that can have a length-to-diameter ratio greater than 10,00,000. These cylindrical carbon molecules have novel properties that make them potentially useful in many applications in nanotechnology, electronics, optics and other fields of materials science. They exhibit extraordinary strength and unique electrical properties, and are efficient conductors of heat.

A simple one-step method to prepare carbon nanotubes has been developed under the supervision of Dr. Nanda. This method published in Nanotechnology 19 (2008) 155602 has been featured on http://nanotechweb.org/cws/article/tech/33725. The main feature of this method is that it does not require a carrier gas to deliver reactants to the furnace. Hence, it eliminates nearly the entire complex and expensive machinery associated with chemical vapor deposition that are required to deliver the gases in a controlled manner to the reaction zone. The need for the tedious and time-consuming substrate preparation is also not required.

A schematic of the simple experimental technique is shown below. In brief a quartz tube with one end closed is loaded with the reactants required. The quartz tube is inserted into a horizontal tube furnace at a slight angle to the axis of the furnace, to confine the reactants to the sealed end. The other end of the quartz tube is connected to a rubber bladder to collect gaseous byproducts of the reaction. The furnace is heated up and nanotubes are formed on the walls of the furnace. More details are provided in the publication listed previously.

Schematic and photograph of the experimental setup

Quartz tube with deposition and TEM image of bamboo-like CNT

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